A reader sent me a tip today on a story about what has happened to ex-FAA Administrator Marion Blakey now that she has left the agency.
Like so many appointees in the Bush administration, what they do on the job working for the Feds matters little...what matters is the sweetheart deals they can generate so they can leave office and skate into a cushy six to seven figure "trophy job" in the private sector.
Because ethics in Bush's administration have been replaced with plundering of the public money trough, it is absolutely no surprise that this has occurred. From USA Today:
The nation's top aviation regulator is under criticism for accepting a job as head of a trade group that frequently lobbies for the aviation industry on government spending and policy. Marion Blakey, who heads the Federal Aviation Administration, agreed in July to become president and CEO of the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA), starting Nov. 12. The association represents firms her agency oversaw and awarded contracts to during her five-year tenure.You can bet your farm that Blakey has become BFFs with AIA's member companies as they lobbied The Hill for fat government contracts. She states that she's been "scrupulously careful" to follow federal ethics rules and had no direct involvement in any AIA issues since she began job negotiations with them this summer. And like everyone that has served under The Decider, certainly she HAS to be telling the truth. Right? Her lips were moving, I saw them...
But you have to admit, this Administration's top people have sure perfected the fine art of connecting the dots between Corporate America and their wallet:
USA Today reported that federal executives at Blakey's level earn an annual salary is $168,000, according to the U.S. government's "Plum Book." Blakey and AIA have not released her new salary, but federal tax forms indicate the guy she is replacing made $531,653 in 2005.Now I'm all for making as much cash as you can, but if all our government can pay an agency's top banana is a paltry $168,000, no wonder they all eventually bail and go cash in at Halliburton, Blackwater or AIA.
The hiring of Blakey by AIA has raised some red flags too. Groups that monitor what tries to be passed off as "ethics" in Washington were highly critical. "It raises some pretty serious ethics questions," said Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW). But while it does appear Blakey would be in a fine position to aim the W.D.C. Federal money machine at AIA's member corporations, the Ethics in Government Act of 1978 seems to have been written with Marion Blakey in mind:
The restrictions in it [the Ethics in Government Act of 1978] create a lifetime bar against communications, including submission of memoranda, letters, and telephone calls, to an employee of the United States "in connection with a particular matter involving a specific party or parties, in which [the former employee] participated personally and substantially as an employee." This prohibition seeks to prevent a former employee from "switching sides" by representing a party in a matter in which the former employee had previously worked as a government employee.So I guess it was her stellar record that attracted a fat salary from AIA? Their Board of Directors must have held their noses on this hire, because anyone who looks at the current state of affairs at FAA would easily see that on Marion Blakey's watch, the agency has stumbled on many levels, the most visible of which is the deplorable way they treat NATCA's Air Traffic Controllers.